Thanks for Playing Tea Party, But Republicans Are Leaving

As “The Fix” explains:

Marketing consultant Christine O’Donnell’s stunning primary victory over Rep. Mike Castle last night badly imperils Republicans’ chances of winning the seat being vacated this fall by appointed Sen. Ted Kaufman (D).

Whereas Castle was a known — and liked — commodity to First State voters based on his more than four decades of service in elected office, O’Donnell has next-to-no presence among the general election electorate and, given the sort of primary campaign she ran, seemingly little interest or ability to expand her sphere.

National Republicans signaled privately last night that they would take their attention — and, more importantly, money — elsewhere in the country, focusing on what they believe to be growing opportunities in places like West Virginia and Connecticut to name two.

That decision almost certainly dooms O’Donnell’s candidacy as she has no demonstrated ability to raise the money she will need to be competitive in the pricey Philadelphia media market against New Castle County Executive Chris Coons (D) [Pols emphasis]

…Against Castle, an icon in the state, it was hard to see Coons pulling off the upset.

Against O’Donnell, Coons is rightly regarded as the favorite.

This race moves from “Lean Republican” to “Lean Democratic” — and in so doing gives a major boost to Senate Democrats’ chances of retaining control of the chamber in the fall.

Sound familiar? While there are certainly significant differences here, O’Donnell’s victory is reminiscent of Dan Maes’ win in Colorado’s gubernatorial primary. In both cases, victory by the “Tea Party” favorite has given the Democrats a clear path to victory. But more telling is that once the “Tea Party” favorite won, national and local Republicans quickly abandoned them.

The Republican Party LOVES the Tea Party…only so long as they do what the GOP wants. Which makes us wonder, again, why the Colorado Tea Party doesn’t just form their own party.

87 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ProgressiveCowgirl says:

    Not their ideology, but their effect on the two party system, if they take this to heart and organize as a separate party. If the Republicans take their ball and leave every time the Tea crowd scores a point, why should Tea Party candidates bother keeping an [R] by their names on the ballots?

    I hope Tea Party leaders organize as a third party and win a few seats, paving the way for a progressive fourth party.  

    • Libertad says:

      O’Donnell will rely on local Tea Party funding. But wasn’t this race already lost.

      538 had never counted it.

      The Colorado upside is more support for Ken Buck.

      • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

        He’s looking almost as radical as Maes lately. Maybe they’ll stick with him just because they see Bennet as being very vulnerable and because there’s not another suitable top line candidate to push in Colorado to turn voters out for down-ballot races. But Buck is hardly aligned with establishment values, when it comes right down to it. But honestly, neither was Norton; she just did a better job of looking like an establishment candidate (which was her downfall in the primary).

        If I were Dick Wadhams right now, I’d send Andrew Romanoff a really nice care package–the Senate primary’s continuing impact on party unity on the Dems’ side is the best thing going for statewide Republican candidates.

        (I’ll send Romanoff a care package too if this does eventually result in both major parties splitting along the ideological lines drawn during this election season. We’d have a lot more fun in Colorado and get more done with four viable parties than we do with two.)

        • Libertad says:

          Saying one thing in DC, then coming back to Colorado and telling stories about how and why you voted to kill jobs may fly with the elites … unfortunatley their pocket books have been pinched too.

        • Gray in the mountains says:

          only if we had runoffs

          • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

            But I’d still be more excited about that than about a two-party system. The 2010 legislative season illustrated the problems with having two parties, particularly when a single member of the minority party can obstruct the passage of any bill, any time.  

            • Gray in the mountains says:

              have runoffs, have folks develop coalitions. I would actually hope that it would strengthen the Dems by making them more progressive and straightforward about it.

              I do like the Green party but they are just a bit out there for me. But, I must say they do help move the discussion. The Libs have been pointless.

              I would hope that additional parties would work hard to recruit candidates for ALL offices. I’m sure right now the ACP wishes they had more offices in contention.

              • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

                It’s easy right now to get a third party’s nomination for a big office, so people who just want “candidate for US Senate” in their biography go that direction. But really, a viable third (and, hopefully, fourth) party would need to field candidates at all levels. Getting one Congressional seat is headline news, but would probably do less for the party’s long-term viability than a good small-town mayor willing to put some hard work into a community eager for genuine change.  

                • Gray in the mountains says:

                  where they elected and reelected Art Goodtimes-G

                  Most cities in CO have non-partisan elections

                  • ProgressiveCowgirl says:

                    Actually, non-partisan races would be especially good targets for third/fourth party candidates, in my opinion. Downplays the negative effects of running as a minor party in a partisan race, but still gives the party a boost via publicity when someone not a member of a major party does a good job in office.

                    But again, you bump up against the problem of attention hounds in the minor parties (Tancredo being the most successful one in recent memory, save for, I suppose, Joe Lieberman) who are more interested in making the evening news than doing the job.

        • bjwilson83 says:

          Princeton education, law school, and experience as a D.A. He’ll be just fine.

        • H-man says:

          The Republicans are pulling out of the state.  They found out he is a radical who supports the Constituion.

          Apparently you did not see the latest TV buy for $500K for next week?

    • EmeraldKnight76 says:

      I can guarantee they won’t like their system anymore than we like ours. They will have just as many “fakes”, “frauds”, etc in their various parties.

      If the Teabaggers truly split from Republicans and attempt to form their own Party there will be a couple possible outcomes:

      1. You end up fragmenting the Republican Party for good into two Parties, neither of which are strong enough to defeat Democrats.

      2. Republicans move en mass to the new Tea Party which basically means they change their name, play by new rules for awhile, then go back to the way they’ve always been but under a different name.

      Why would Dems be insane enough to follow this disastrous plan after watching the debacle the Republicans are going through? Especially if option 1 above happens? If option 2 happens, progressives would have to be willing to sacrifice 2-3 decades (at best) of the country being controlled by Republicans, or Tea Partiers, in order to build up the new “Progressive Party” or whatever you want to call it.

      Of course if Dems do split into two parties and the Republicans don’t…we’re screwed. There’s a very real reason the Tea Party hasn’t a most likely won’t ever form their own party.

  2. MADCO says:

    2010 is the R wave year, all seats are in play and everyone is leaning R, if not outright voting R.

    Coons is toast.

  3. Rainidog says:

    They haven’t and won’t form their own party because it takes WORK, as you outlined in your July post.  And respect for the rules.  And self-discipline.  And at least a small amount of pragmatism.

    So the reality is there is no tea PARTY and won’t be one.  Every crazy candidate who’s won a REPUBLICAN primary has an R after their names.  They are Republicans, spawned by Rove and Gingrich and Armey and Ronald Reagan.  It’s the TGOP.  Simply the reaping of what the manipulators have sowed.

    The slightly sane R’s who have a big pain in their gut today are the ones who ate all the tea party candy, starting in Feb. 2009 (actually more like 30+ years ago).  I, for one, am enjoying the show.

  4. Laughing Boy says:

    Except it’s not true.

    John Cornyn: [Emphasis mine]

    Let there be no mistake: The National Republican Senatorial Committee – and I personally as the committee’s chairman – strongly stand by all of our Republican nominees, including Christine O’Donnell in Delaware.

    I reached out to Christine this morning, and as I have conveyed to all of our nominees, I offered her my personal congratulations and let her know that she has our support. This support includes a check for $42,000 – the maximum allowable donation that we have provided to all of our nominees – which the NRSC will send to her campaign today.

    We remain committed to holding Democrat nominee New Castle County Executive Chris Coons accountable this November, as we inform voters about his record of driving his county to the brink of bankruptcy and supporting his party’s reckless spending policies in Washington.

    The bolded part is all that’s going to matter in November.  The Dems fiddled with a shitty HC bill and Porkulus while the economy burned.

  5. bjwilson83 says:

    everybody hates Democrats right now. In most instances, the Tea Party and the GOP have both been able to get behind the winner of the primary. But in some instances, the difference are just too great. Does this mean Dems may hold on to the Senate when they otherwise wouldn’t have? Yes – for two years. But the long term benefit of removing Castle from office to the conservative cause far outweighs short term GOP control of the Senate. The GOP needs to get its house in order first before we give it control of the Senate back. If we can do that this year with conservatives, great. If we could do it with RINOs, no thanks, we’ll wait two years.

    • Republican 36 says:

      You can make the statement that getting rid of U.S. Rep. Castle outweighs the loss of the Delaware U.S. Senate seat but we need to look beyond that to what is going on inside the Republican Party, and has been for twenty or so years.

      By throwing Castle under the bus, the only result will be to convince many Republicans in Delaware and across the country that the Republican Party is permanently focused on extreme positions (they’re certainly not conservative ones) from social policy to tax policy. In other words, the Republican Party is driving the moderate Republicans into the Democrat column.

      Lets turn to Colorado where Congressman Tancredo is attempting to split the so called conservative Republicans away from the party. With this kind of splintering going on all over the country how can the party survice.

      Next lets look at the registration figures in Colorado. The last time I looked there hasn’t been any great migration back to the Republican Party. The Republicans lost the largest registration lead (180,000 more R’s than D’s) in state history over a period of four years and yet, today, with the Democrats clearly in political trouble because of the economy, there hasn’t been a return to the Republican column by large numbers of former party members.

      All of this bodes ill for the long term health of the Republican Party. There are fundamental fractures over philosophy between the extremists and the moderate Republicans. You can call them RINO’s or other less printable names all day, but you can’t win without them.

      Finally, by requiring all the litmus tests around the issues of “god, guns, gays and abortion” and by absolutely refusing to allow any deviation on those issues whatsoever by anyone who runs for a Republican nomination, you have institutionalized and insured the long term failure of the Republican Party. Rigidity in American politcs insures electoral failure. Only people who can compromise and tolerate different opinions within the ranks can build a political party coalition capable of winning general elections.

      The Republican Party may enjoy a brief period of success this November but the longer term prospects are bleak.

  6. BlueCat says:

    we don’t  need the Tea Party to discover a work ethic.  We have a real third party on the horizon in the ACP.  With Tancredo poised to get them over the 10% qualifier for major party status, we may be able to look forward to a party that will do for many Colorado Dem candidates what Perot did for Clinton, winning him that ’92  plurality victory here and nationwide.

    Imagine the jubilation of ACP members nationwide when cable  starts featuring breathless stories on how this obscure party attained technical major party status here thanks to crazy Tanc.  Imagune Colorado as ground zero for ACP aspirations.  

    Instead of a percentage point or two being nibbled on both the left and the right by Libertarians and Greens and such, there will be a third rightie party strong enough, with funds pulled in from nationwide ACP members, to take perhaps  8% to 10% chunks from GOP candidates, handing Dems more plurality victories. Unlike Perot, a one man band, the ACP could stick around for a while and participate in a range of races.

    Tanc gets more fame, adulation and lucrative celeb status without a job that requires actual work. The ACP gets to be somebody.  Dems start catching more big breaks in close elections.  It’s all good.  Well, not so much for dazed and confused Colorado GOPers wondering how they, the ones who were suppose to be the players, lost control of the played.  

    And on national scale, if Dems retain the Senate, thanks mainly to the whole GOP losing control thing and the GOP wins the house, two years of pretty much nothing but investigations and gridlock ought to set up the GOP as the bums to throw out just in time for 2012.  If Dems squeak by and hold both, the window for Rs will be slip sliding away as demographics keep making it tougher for them to get growing numbers of younger and minority voters to vote against their own economic interests on fading wedge issues fewer and fewer voters will care about.

    Colorado.  We were ground zero for the blue gains of 2004, 2006 and 2008 and we may prove to be ground zero for the splintering into relative impotence of the far right and the return of the nation to a more truly centered center. Riders of the purple sage.

  7. H-man says:

    From 2-0 in the Senate and 5-2 in the house to 1-1 in the Senate and 3-4 in the house in two months.  The Colorado Dem contribution to the changing of guard in Congress is apprectiated.

  8. Pam Bennett says:

    The original was comprised of paid people traveling around by bus to create the appearance of a lot of angry people.  I guess Rove and the Kochs were very surprised at what they spawned.

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